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The Black Sox Scandal

The History and Legacy of America's Most Notorious Sports Controversy
Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 13 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
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Publisher's Summary

The 1919 World Series was one that baseball fans would never forget, but the memories are hardly fond. The Chicago White Sox were favored 5:1 to beat the Cincinnati Reds, and for the first time since 1903, the Series would be a best-of-nine format. However, at a time when players were treated as second class, some sought a payday beyond what they made in the leagues, and the White Sox players were some of the most poorly paid in the league. The owner of the team, Charles A. Comiskey, was one of the cheapest owners in the game, too cheap to pay to have the team's uniforms laundered after games.

Around two weeks before the World Series was set to begin, Chicago first baseman Chick Gandil met with a gambler in his Boston hotel room. During that meeting, Gandil told Joseph Sullivan that for $100,000, he and other members of the White Sox were willing to take a dive and make sure that the Reds won the World Series. Gandil was able to convince the team's top two pitchers to go along with the plan, as well as five other players, and gamblers came up with the money, including the famous New York City mobster Arnold Rothstein. With that, the plan to throw the World Series was put in motion, and rumors began to spread around the country prior to the start of the series as gamblers wagered large sums of money on the Reds.

In the end, the press had a field day, calling for justice in a series that was clearly fixed, and eight players would be charged: Eddie Cicotte, Oscar "Happy" Felsch, Arnold "Chick" Gandil, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Charles "Swede" Risberg, George "Buck" Weaver, and Claude "Lefty" Williams. Though they were all acquitted in court, the players were banned from baseball for life, and the Black Sox Scandal has continued to be well-known nearly a century later, and it has given rise to all sorts of legends. Ironically, Shoeless Joe Jackson is the most famous Black Sox player even as historians continue to debate whether he was actually in on the fix.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

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